Tag Archives: Wendy Cope

Some men never think of it.










Some men never think of it.
You did. You’d come along
And say you’d nearly brought me flowers
But something had gone wrong. The shop was closed. Or you had doubts –
The sort that minds like ours
Dream up incessantly. You thought
I might not want your flowers. It made me smile and hug you then.
Now I can only smile.
But, look, the flowers you nearly brought
Have lasted all this while.

-Wendy Cope

vegetable spirits

I don’t have all the same reasons as Wendy Cope to appreciate a quiet life, but I do share her contentment with a garden that is growing and someone to stay home with. And you can call me a happy cabbage if you want to.

Being Boring
‘May you live in interesting times.’ Chinese curse

If you ask me ‘What’s new?’, I have nothing to say
Except that the garden is growing.
I had a slight cold but it’s better today.
I’m content with the way things are going.
Yes, he is the same as he usually is,
Still eating and sleeping and snoring.
I get on with my work. He gets on with his.
I know this is all very boring.

There was drama enough in my turbulent past:
Tears and passion – I’ve used up a tankful.
No news is good news, and long may it last.
If nothing much happens, I’m thankful.
A happier cabbage you never did see,
My vegetable spirits are soaring.
If you’re after excitement, steer well clear of me.
I want to go on being boring.

I don’t go to parties. Well, what are they for,
If you don’t need to find a new lover?
You drink and you listen and drink a bit more
And you take the next day to recover.
Someone to stay home with was all my desire
And, now that I’ve found a safe mooring,
I’ve just one ambition in life: I aspire
To go on and on being boring.

–Wendy Cope

In the last minute of the first hour.

My man and I laughed out loud over coffee and Wendy Cope’s poems this morning. I’ve had time and memory on my mind lately so I especially appreciated a lighthearted treatment of the subject in this one:

A Nursery Rhyme
as it might have been written 
by T.S. Eliot


Because time will not run backwards
Because time
Because time will not run
                                         Hickory dickory
In the last minute of the first hour
I saw the mouse ascend the ancient timepiece,
Claws whispering like wind in dry hyacinths.
One o’clock,
The street lamp said,
‘Remark the mouse that races towards the carpet.’
And the unstilled wheel still turning
                                                          Hickory dickory
                                                          Hickory dickory


— Wendy Cope             

A Little Can Give You the Whole Thing

Today started out with lots of little annoyances, including a tendinitis flare-up in my elbow, from working on my upright freezer to prepare it to be hauled off. And from hacking frost and ice off the food to prepare it to go into the new freezer.

Now I’m waiting for the delivery of the new machine (and what a useful homemakey blessing that is!), and as just about every sort of housework I need to do is irritating this elbow, I sat down to read some poems.

Wendy Cope has written quite a few that I only recently discovered with delight, and here is one about enjoying the little things, and how one’s mood can help in that endeavor. It’s from an anthology put together by Garrison Keillor, titled Good Poems, which some of my children pooled their resources to buy me for Christmas many years ago. Wasn’t that sweet?

As I’m forced to slow down and leave many things undone today, it’s the perfect reminder. It seems to me it works both ways: If you stop fretting about the past or the future, enough to see what is around you and notice what or Who is near right now, it can improve your perspective and give you some helpful momentum for noticing more lovely ordinary things.

This poem also carried a couple of specific gratitude pokes for me: the thought of how many gorgeous big oranges I have eaten in my life, picked from my father’s trees. And the wonder of having children who would give me a book of poems.

The Orange

by Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange–
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave–
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.